When a Summer Day Calls for a Beer
As with pilsner, craft brewers take liberties with the style. I’ve seen raspberry Kölsch, honey Kölsch, kiwi Kölsch, but though I know many American brewers make true Kölsch-style beers, I don’t often see them. It may be that some American brewers refrain from using the name Kölsch, respecting it as a geographical appellation, which makes them hard to identify.
Other great summer beers? Gose, an eastern German wheat beer often made with the addition of coriander and salt, is always alluring. A good gose is tart, lively, spicy and lightly saline. The style had something of a vogue a few years ago, but I don’t see them so often anymore. When I do, though, I snap them up.
Gose is esoteric even in Germany. Bayerischer Bahnhof in Leipzig has helped to revive the style. Its version is lovely, mildly sour and refreshing. Westbrook of Mount Pleasant, S.C., makes a number of gose-style beers, all of which are quite good.
I confess to rather narrow tastes in summer beers. Hefeweizen, the Bavarian wheat beer, often fits my low-alcohol criteria, but I’m not a big fan of the flavors, which can taste like cloves and bubble gum. Nor do I generally care for “summer ales,” an imprecise label that often includes wheat beers and flavored beers, though sometimes I’ve seen it used for American Kölsch-style brews.
I’m also not drawn to I.P.A.s, which I know have many ardent fans.
Long before I.P.A. became a cherished American beer style emphasizing resiny, citrusy American hops, there was India Pale Ale, a strong, bitter English style that inspired the American versions, but not nearly so florid.
Nowadays, every deli and bodega sells I.P.A.s, double I.P.A.s, New England I.P.A.s and session I.P.A.s, but the English style is a rare thing. So I don’t drink many I.P.A.s, unless I spot a Samuel Smith India Ale, an adaptation of the classic that is mild and refreshing enough to open on any summer day.
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